I'll see if I can get an answer for you. Peak names out here are
often interesting and usually unless a mountain is named for a well
known person, there will be several interpretations of the name. A
few are clear. For example, Mount Eolus is named for the Greek god
of the winds. That name reflect class on the part of the namer. I
like it a lot. Mt. Ouray is another fine name. It is named for a
great chief of the Utes - most appropriate out here. Sunlight Peak
suggests the reflection of sunlight. I don't know, but a very
Some names over in the Sangre de Cristo are great also. Humbolt Peak
was named for the great German explorer Alexander Von Humbolt (Humbolt
current). Blanca Peak sounds good. Crestone Peak and Crestone Needle
are fine sounding names, but crestone is Spanish for cock's comb.
Rooster Mountain? Sheeesh!
Then there are the poor mountains named for politicians, miners,
generals, etc. - people who either had nothing to do with the
mountains bearing their names or were land exploiters, land thieves,
etc. Hate those names.
In New England, the mountain names are as colorless as clear
water. For a region otherwise rich in history and culture, many of
the New England mountains got screwed.
[Edward Frank, June 24, 2009]
This is a section from Ray Bradbury's "The Martian Chronicle." I
think this fits well with this discussion.
2004-05: THE NAMING OF NAMES
They came to the strange blue lands and put their names upon the
lands. Here was Hinkston Creek and Lustig Corners and Black River
and Driscoll Forest and Peregrine Mountain and Wilder Town, all the
names of people and the things that the people did. Here was the
place where Martians killed the first Earth Men, and it was Red Town
and had to do with blood. And here where the second expedition was
destroyed, and it was named Second Try, and each of the other places
where the rocket men had set down their fiery caldrons to burn the
land, the names were left like cinders, and of course there was a
Spender Hill and a Nathaniel York Town. . . . (cont)
[Michele Wilson, June 24, 2009]
On many of the maps I produce for my clients, I make it a point to
land features (brooks, roads, small mountains, huge rocks,
always ask my client first, of course, if they want to give a name
something. If not, then if I think it is worthy, I name it! I
that as time goes by, and the name of something keeps popping up on
that float through state and local regulatory offices not to mention
a piece of land's current owner on to the next, etc., then perhaps
everyone else will just accept the name or just assume it's already
"official" name for something and it'll eventually show up on the
maps!!!! Not too long ago I wanted to name a road Platypus Lane but
client instead made me name it Sleeping Dragon Lane, a fine choice
On another property, I "gave" my client's young grandson an entire
naming it "Tommy's Brook"... he couldn't have been prouder!... then,
I learned he had a younger brother, in order to keep the peace, I
young Daniel a very pretty glade, "Daniel's Glade" (and secretly
that the glade was even more special than his older brother's
know, the glade being filled with dancing woods spirits and the
I'm sure both boys enjoyed the looks on their school chums faces
showed up the next Monday making claims to owning brooks and glades!
it goes! A big part of a forestry consultant's job sometimes ends
being practicing basic psychology on the various family members
the client base.
[Edward Frank, June 25,
2009, Naming Trees]
I am ambivalent about the naming of particular trees. I
suppose it is good if the name is given in honor of some
ceremonial event, like those given associated with some Native
American ceremonies or to honor someone for their lifelong
achievements. Bob named a tree for me in MTSF in Massachusetts.
It is nice to have a tree named after me, but... I
see no real purpose or point of having additional trees named
after me, unless I do something exceptional on a grand scale.
There is the consideration of Naming of Names. I am sure
that Bradbury patterned his prose after real events in the
naming of the west. Trees in one sense are more
ephemeral than mountains, but still they are long lived in terms
of a human lifespan. Care and consideration should be given to
the naming. Will Blozan ask me if the tall Silver Maple we found
on Thompson Island had a name. I said it did not. It serves a
useful purpose for identifying a tree in conversation, but often
the names are given too casually. In Alaska there is a river
named Another River because the explorers could not think of a
good name for it.
In caves people like to give names to speleothems. This is
the norm in commercial caves where every bit of flowstone is
named something or other. I don't really like this practice.
If you name something "the Whale" people looking at it begin
to compare what they see to how a whale would look. Its essence
becomes a matter of how well it compares to its namesake. It is
no longer valued for itself, for being a unique example of
whatever type of speleothem it might be.
I suppose that naming of trees is not exactly the same thing.
They are not being compared to the person for whom the tree is
named. But still in a lesser way naming a tree moves it
slightly into the realm of human existence and may detract from
its individual identity as a unique tree, as a unique being.
Perhaps human names should be reserved for those things created
by humans for human purposes. Are human names just too limiting
of a boundary for a tree?
I don't know what to think about the entire process.
[Bob Leverett, June 25, 2009]
Ed, thanks for continuing the discussions on the naming of trees.
It is a subject that deserves airing here on the list for a variety
of reasons. So, I'll continue with the following observations.
Naming can seem dilettanteish and superficial - and it can be. Most
of the time I don't seek to name trees, but for a few, I will see
reasons to affix a name, and not just to be a good fellow. My
experience has been that for people who visit an ENTS-named tree
with an Ent, the tree name is usually acknowledged by the visitors,
but soon forgotten. Bottom line - no harm done.
In the case of naming trees for other Ents, it is my way of honoring
the work of lady and fellow Ents in basically a harmless way. The
names are not recorded on official maps and probably won't stick for
long periods. The names are never meant to humanize the trees. Most
importantly, I, as many of the rest of you, connect to these trees
in deeper ways than sporting motives, a utilitarian mindset, or even
serious scientific research.
In my case, I don't like trees named for me. I prefer naming trees
for others who have done outstanding work toward protecting the
environment. In the case of naming multiple trees for Will, Lee, and
several others of you, it is just my way of saying thanks for the
extraordinary work, quality and quantity, that you all do in adding
to our knowledge of trees, spreading the word, and supporting the
idea, spirit, and activities of ENTS. Beyond acknowledgements, there
is often a spiritual component in the activity of naming - a
ritualistic connecting of Ents and trees.
Of course, there is the negative side of naming - but the negatives
come mostly through the official processes. What really sets me off
is the official naming of natural features, including trees, for
nature exploiters and dumb-ass politicians. Here is but one of
literally thousands of examples that could be given. Mount Elbert,
the high point of the entire Rocky Mountain chain, is defamed
mightily by having to bear the name of a past Indian-hating
governor of Colorado and a full fledged land exploiter. However, I
can't claim purity of motives in accepting names. I'm fairly
tolerant of naming trees for military generals. I guess that is to
be expected from my military background. Oh well, this isn't about
objectivity. Emotions do play the biggest part.
I think that the act of naming a tree is either sullied
(regrettably) or cleansed (hopefully) by the intentions of the namer.
In the case of my naming trees for Kip and Laura Stransky, we have
two absolutely beautiful people, people who do good on many levels
and people who work tirelessly for the environment - in highly
constructive ways. They work (or worked in the case of Kip) for
agencies that for environmentalists have mixed reputations. Yet Kip
and Laura have never lost their bearings and do not apologize for
being 'environmentalists'. BTW, thinking of government employees,
Don Bertolette and Don Bragg are two more examples of employees who
have never lost their bearings.
In terms of my seemingly undisciplined burst of naming activity
yesterday, it was not entered into cavalierly. I could clearly see
that Laura loved those big Ponderosas and tall, straight Blue
Spruce. She noted their locations, she noted their forms, and
interpreted past events that had effected them. She and Kip are part
of the land out here in the most laudatory way. They live humbly and
simply and naturally with the land. They are its protectors and not
just in a general, 'touchy feely' kind of way. Laura has been a
primary old growth inventory specialist almost since the program
started out here around 1990. Kip has done a lot of restoration work
and is an excellent ornithologist. Laura and her associate know of
Lee Frelich and acknowledged benefiting from his 2001 (?)
presentation on old growth definitions. An ENTS connection between
some fine folks out here and ENTS or its western extension to be has
been simmering for a number of years.
Now, I'll confess to another reason for my naming trees. It helps
me to remember them. Yes, a failing memory is an awful thing to be